NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Despite having no symptoms and having tested negative for Ebola, nurse Kaci Hickox says she’s being forced into isolation at University Hospital, and now her lawyers are planning a federal lawsuit.
“It’s just a basic tent structure. There’s a hospital bed. They’re bringing me food. I have a port-a-potty type restroom. No shower facilities,” Hickox said as she described her living conditions.
As CBS 2’s Matt Kozar reported, the nurse who treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone is now a patient herself, only Hickox might actually call herself a prisoner.
“I think that this is an extreme; that is really unacceptable, and I feel like my basic human rights have been violated,” she said.
This will be Hickox’s third night quarantined inside an isolation tent. Her attorney snapped a picture from outside where he was forced to speak with her through a plastic window.
“It’s almost like treating people who are doing the right thing, who go to West Africa and come back here and are treated like criminals,” lawyer Norman Siegel said.
Hickox is the first health care worker quarantined under the new screening rules at New York and New Jersey airports.
Attorneys Steven Hyman and Siegel say politicians are feeding into the Ebola hysteria and in the process are violating people’s civil liberties.
“I think there has to be a toning down of what has taken place here by the government,” Hyman said.
“The first thing I would say to Governor Christie is that I wish he would be more careful about his statements related to my medical condition,” Hickox said. “If he knew anything about Ebola, he would know that asymptomatic people are not infectious.”
University Hospital says it’s doing everything it can in a difficult situation.
“The patient has computer access, use of her cell phone, reading material (magazines, newspaper) and requested and has received take-out food and drink,” the hospital said in a statement.
“It’s really inhumane to make me stay for 21 days, to not be with my family, to put me through this emotional and physical stress is completely unacceptable,” Hickox said.
Hickox and her lawyers say the new policy in New York and New Jersey will discourage American doctors and nurses from traveling to West Africa where help is desperately needed.
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:
[display-posts category=”news” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”4″]